Today, I want to talk about the importance of having a content calendar. Did you know that according to the Content Marketing Institute, 89% of B2B companies incorporate content marketing into their overall marketing strategy? A more recent study found that only 41% of those companies have a documented content strategy. Well, that number is, isn't itself a bit scary. The fact is is that those marketers who considered themselves successful are 40% more effective than those who don't have a plan.
So how can a company like yours be more effective and strategic in producing engaging content? Have a content calendar.
What is a content calendar?
It defines your publishing schedule four months in advance. It gives you a quick overview of your content schedule, and it gives your team members clarity about deadlines and details. It gives your marketing agency inspiration for content.
You should be creating this document with your marketing agency, or your marketing agency should just be giving it to you for approval.
Top 10 Benefits of a Content Calendar
What are the benefits of a content calendar?
- It helps you maintain a consistent content production schedule.
- Using your content analysis and analytics, you can tell what content performs best and you can change your content strategy as necessary.
- You can maximize and optimize your content output efficiently.
- It helps develop a balanced mix of content types, includes articles, videos, podcasts, and social posts.
- It helps to plan for a diverse range of content, such as how-tos, opinions and in-depth content.
- It's flexible enough to change content output depending on demand from prospective clients and your company.
- It enables you a plan for company events, national events, and if necessary, seasonal content.
- It makes the team more accountable for producing content.
- It helps your marketing agency and you communicate and work together more efficiently.
- This process helps to gather and stimulate more content ideas.
Create Your Content Calendar in 7 Steps
1. Determine Your Niche Audience
You determine your niche audience. So first, who is your one ideal client that you want to write your content to? It's easy to have multiple buyer personas and multiple ideal clients, but when you're starting out, just start with the one ideal client. Ask yourself what industries are they in?
You can also refer to the niche blog post for more info.
2. Determine Themes and Topics
Next you can set to you determine your themes and topics. We like to break it up into steps first, determine your quarterly theme. Then from that, determine your monthly theme and finally break that down to your weekly theme or your weekly blog posts. We'd like to take on an engineering approach.
When it comes to content calendars, make sure you produce content from every stage of the client buying process from awareness, consideration, decision, to post-purchase stage. You will want to make your content address your ideal client's concerns and questions. When your content addresses their concern concerns, they're more likely to engage with your content and share it. That will convert leads into customers.
3. Distribute Your Content
What are the best ways to distribute your content?
- First is a business blog. We have a Guide to Marketing blog, company blog, and case study blog. Our Guide to Marketing blog is ideal for how to create content and on marketing for technical services. Our case studies blog is what we've done for our current customers and examples of our work. The Company blog hosts company insights and possible seasonal content.
- Website content: You can create landing pages, video, and gated content to collect more inbound leads.
- YouTube videos: create explainer videos, interviews, and behind the scenes footage of your office.
- Social media, especially LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram: You can promote your content to new and different prospects.
- Emails: You can send out your blogs, newsletters, press releases and surveys to prospective clients on your list.
4. Determine Post Frequency
It depends on your business and how much you're willing to invest in your content marketing. It's fine to start out with one or two blog posts per week. And as your company gets bigger, you can invest in more and post more frequently. I would recommend that two blog posts per month are a minimum.
5. Have a Content Calendar Spreadsheet
For most content marketers, a spreadsheet is sufficient. We use Microsoft Excel and OneDrive to collaborate with other members of our marketing team.
Here are the headers that you should have on the marketing content calendar:
- Year, quarter, month, week and day of week, and date
- Monthly theme
- Weekly theme
- Blog working title: It does not have to be your final title yet
- Brief outline: One to two sentences of what the blog will be about
- Medium: Video blog, a blog or podcast, or doing all three?
- Purpose: Where are your readers in the client buying process? Are they in awareness, consideration, decision or post-purchase stage?
- Call-to-action: Make sure at the bottom of the blog after blog content. This can be to an ebook, a one-pager, or an assessment. It's a great way to collect more leads.
6. Brainstorm your Content Calendar
Your content calendar is flexible. Seasonal content is fixed, but everything else can move around that. So remember, you also can move around your quarterly themes.
Have your content calendar fixed so then you can consistently produce content for a few months and see the outcomes of the content produced,
7. Content Checklist and Branding Guide
To ensure your content marketing goes smoothly, making sure you have a good marketing brand guide. So that should include your:
- Marketing goals
- Your editorial guide with the tone of voice and whether you're using first, second, or third person in your copy and content
- What branding is allowable, especially on your white papers and eBooks.
You also want to have a checklist such as:
- H1, H2 and H3 headers optimized?
- Do you have a blog social share image?
- Infographics for the blog?
- Meta description?
How to Keep Your Content Marketing On Track
This is how you keep your content strategy on track and on the rails. A content calendar helps you stay consistent and creating content and keep up with your content marketing goals and deliver it to them. You can start with our basic spreadsheet and watch the process evolve.
Do you need a done-for-you content calendar? You can contact us to get it done, and we'll start producing content for you.